I spent an enjoyable couple of hours today at the Barons Court Theatre (in the Curtains Up pub in Comeragh Road) watching a performance of “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Professional Help Productions.

Some of the biggest laughs were reserved, as ever, for Lady Bracknell (played by Sarah Dearlove standing in at short notice for Judith Pollard), but particularly for those lines during her interrogation of Jack Worthing, designed to assess his suitability as a potential husband for Gwendolen, which seemed particularly pertinent to 2011 (a mere 116 years after the play’s first performance):

Lady Bracknell. I have always been of opinion that a man who desires to get married should know either everything or nothing. Which do you know?

Jack. [After some hesitation.] I know nothing, Lady Bracknell.

Lady Bracknell. I am pleased to hear it. I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and probably lead to riots and acts of violence in Grosvenor Square.”

And then a few moments later:

Lady Bracknell. [Sternly.] What are your polities?

Jack. Well, I am afraid I really have none. I am a Liberal.

Lady Bracknell. Oh, they count as Tories. ….  Now to minor matters. Are your parents living?”

 

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